Fandom: House MD
Challenge/Prompt: 7snogs, #4. Sunset
Summary: Detox!House/Cuddy. Heh.
Author’s Notes: I really like this. How's that for unusual?
They said he was a junkie, everybody got involved.
“You made this bet,” he says. Cuddy studies him. It’s dark and quite late and she’s still here because- why is she still here? Oh God, she can’t have forced herself to stay here to keep an eye on him, can she (she can) (nonononono)?
House looks half-crazy and about twelve parts dead all twirled up with some red-rimmed eyes and lord, he’s not amused is he. Cuddy tucks a strand of hair behind her ear that’s worked free from her barrette and studies him for a moment, because she’s damned if she knows what to say.
He shouldn’t be able to move that fast. But he does. Pins her to the wall of her office- not the glass one, the blinds are shut (no one here to save her)- and his fingers close around her wrists. He’s trembling. So’s she. It all balances.
“You made this bet,” he whispers again. His hands tighten. It almost hurts.
“But-” she begins, grateful for the high-heels she’s (so precariously) wearing; at least this way she can meet his gaze.
“I know,” House continues, “That it was Wilson’s idea. But you went along with it. I know Wilson has this need to fix everyone, and he obviously felt like fixing me. But you, Dr Cuddy; what’s your motive?”
“I-” Cuddy begins. She has no motives. She does. She doesn’t. She won’t tell him either way.
House abruptly lets go and indicates the patient file he dumped on her desk before he got all accusing.
“Look at it,” he says, tapping his taped fingers against his thigh. Cuddy obediently does so. The notes he’s added are-
Doctors are supposed to have bad handwriting (sure, they live the cliché, but they don’t have time to learn copperplate and that messes up your fingers anyway). But this isn’t bad handwriting. It’s- a five-year-old with a crayon could do a better job. It looks like he’s written it with his left hand. It looks like he tried to write it with his foot.
“You’d better hope that the patient’s father doesn’t try to sue,” he says in a voice that might be singsong, but it takes so much effort for him to speak without gagging that every word sounds too deliberate (that must be killing him; for once it sounds like he means what he says). “’Cause if he does, the disciplinary committee are going to have a tricky time deciphering that.”
Cuddy looks at his shaking hands and then at him.
“Get Dr Cameron to make the notes for you,” she says, “Like you normally do.” There’s no need to punish me into the bargain, she wants to add, but that blatantly isn’t true. She might deserve this, although she also knows with absolute certainty that it wasn’t her idea.
“So, what, you’re sitting in here one day surfing the Victoria’s Secret website for yet more underwear we can see through your shirts, and Wilson comes in and says ‘hey, I’ve got a fun idea! Let’s take away House’s drug and watch him fall apart from the pain! Hooray!’?”
“Has Wilson ever sounded so perky?” Cuddy enquires, but she can’t meet his eyes, and House (even off-balance as he is), notices this. But he keeps on going anyway.
“So you’re lying around in Wilson’s bed because his wife won’t be home for a whole hour, and he pulls aside the sheet and says-”
“I’m not sleeping with Wilson!” Cuddy protests loudly (maybe too loudly; who knows). House considers her statement with a ‘that has merit’ kind of look on his face.
“Ok,” he sighs, “But how do people come up with ideas like this? Is there like a ‘Crazy Sadistic Doctors Monthly’ magazine or something? ‘Ten ways to make your crippled employee’s life hell’.”
“It’s not like that.”
What Cuddy doesn’t say is I don’t have to defend myself to you. Perhaps she does have to. Perhaps she does say it. Really, she’s starting to feel more than a little crazy.
“Then tell me why.”
She realises that he does want a reason. She’s not sure she has one. Instead, Cuddy studies her fingernails. There’s a chip on one of the manicured tips. Figures. She swallows hard and tries to make herself manage to meet his eyes. The sight of him this destroyed scares her a little. Her hands are still shaking.
“Because you have to,” she says softly.
“So I presume you and Wilson held up the Vicodin deliveries together?” House’s smile twists a little. “He wears a black cape and a mask and holds up the drugs before they get to the hospital just so you can have time to take some shots at my ego.”
“If you have all these theories I don’t see why you have to keep talking to me,” she shrugs, pushing the kid’s file back towards him. House reaches out to take it off her desk, then stumbles, a hand pressing against his thigh. His face contorts with raw pain and Cuddy swallows hard. Guilt. Maybe.
“Greg,” she says softly. “You’re going to kill your patient.”
“And whose fault is that?” he lashes out. She bites her lips together. House isn’t right. His personality comes through in brief flashes; his conversation topics flicker and change like he can’t keep focused. She can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to be in his head right now- broken thoughts cutting his mind to shreds.
He can’t work like this. He can’t live like this.
“Stop,” she tells him. He raises an amused eyebrow. “Stop right now. Start taking your Vicodin, I’ll still give you the month off clinic duty.”
House stares at her for a moment, looking absolutely stunned. Then he shakes his head, that edgy smirk twisting his lips again.
“Better not tell Wilson you caved,” he says. “And if I wouldn’t take Vicodin for Foreman, it’s very unlikely I’ll take it for you.”
Cuddy licks her lips. She’s shaking harder now. She imagines, for a brief and awkward moment, crossing the distance between them, kissing him, making him stop this detox, this withdrawal for her, his quivering hands tangling in her hair.
“Fine,” she murmurs, fingers curling into her palms. “Off you go then.”
House narrows his eyes at her like he can see into her head but he says nothing as he limps out, leaning too hard on the cane, fingers lingering too hard on the door handle like he wants to say something else, but he doesn’t.
Cuddy sinks into her chair and puts her head in her hands.